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English: A labelled, cutaway diagram of a Space Shuttle Orbiter.
This illustration is an orbiter cutaway view with callouts. The orbiter is both the brains and heart of the Space Transportation System (STS). About the same size and weight as a DC-9 aircraft, the orbiter contains the pressurized crew compartment (which can normally carry up to seven crew members), the huge cargo bay, and the three main engines mounted on its aft end. There are three levels to the crew cabin. Uppermost is the flight deck where the commander and the pilot control the mission. The middeck is where the gallery, toilet, sleep stations, and storage and experiment lockers are found for the basic needs of weightless daily living. Also located in the middeck is the airlock hatch into the cargo bay and space beyond. It is through this hatch and airlock that astronauts go to don their spacesuits and manned maneuvering units in preparation for extravehicular activities, more popularly known as spacewalks. The Space Shuttle's cargo bay is adaptable to hundreds of tasks. Large enough to accommodate a tour bus (60 x 15 feet or 18.3 x 4.6 meters), the cargo bay carries satellites, spacecraft, and spacelab scientific laboratories to and from Earth orbit. It is also a work station for astronauts to repair satellites, a foundation from which to erect space structures, and a hold for retrieved satellites to be returned to Earth. Thermal tile insulation and blankets (also known as the thermal protection system or TPS) cover the underbelly, bottom of the wings, and other heat-bearing surfaces of the orbiter to protect it during its fiery reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. The Shuttle's 24,000 individual tiles are made primarily of pure-sand silicate fibers, mixed with a ceramic binder. The solid rocket boosters (SRB's) are designed as an in-house Marshall Space Flight Center project, with United Space Boosters as the assembly and refurbishment contractor. The solid rocket motor (SRM) is provided by the Morton Thiokol Corporation.
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|This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)
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